LOBAMBA – Giants Mbabane Swallows have made a firm statement about their league title chase by thrashing Red Lions by 5-1 on Saturday.
The red and white outfit completed a double over Zweli ‘Botsotso’ Khoza’s charges, beating them by the same first leg score line during the pulsating MTN Premier League match played at Somhlolo National Stadium. They further reduced the lead of runaway leaders, Royal Leopard, who were held 3-all by Green Mamba, to five points.
The visitors matched the opposition until after the hour mark as goals started to trickle in.
Inspired by the phenomenal quartet of Felix Badenhorst, Njabulo ‘D4D’ Ndlovu, Wonder ‘Samba Jive’ Nhleko and skipper, Tony ‘TT’ Tsabedze, Swallows opened their account as early as the second minute. The sensational captain fired home with a teasing ground shot which shaved the woodwork from outside the box.
The hosts were adventurous for the better part of the half and should have led by more goals at the break if they were clinical in front of goal.
Swallows still had their foot on the accelerator after the re-start but not without resistance by the relentless opposition. Against the run of play, veteran Red Lions forward, Muntu Mamba cancelled the opposition’s lead with a long range effort which proved too hot to handle for Nicho Francis in the 56th minute.
It seemed the strike opened a can of worms for the away side as Swallows became more forceful, restoring the lead through Badenhorst who literally drove the ball into the net with his foot from a goal mouth scramble in the 62nd minute. The Mbabane giants were now in total control of the game. It was no surprise when lanky forward, Sandile Hlatshwako doubled the advantage from a ‘TT’ corner 20 minutes from time.
Red Lions’ defence was under more pressure in the last 10 minutes and Swallows scored from one of their 10 corners when ‘D4D’s little touch from a ‘Samba Jive’ corner was enough to beat Edward Kontor at Red Lions’ last line of defence.
The about 300 spectators who had braved the chilly weather thought Swallows had done enough to win the match but the ‘trigger’ happy opposition could not stop. Hlatshwako raced with the ball to into the box from 35 yards to beat Kontor with a hard shot to seal the win that earned them their seventh straight league win. Swallows have 35 points in 17 matches. Red Lions’ remain on 24 points and are still mathematically unsafe from the chop.
(At Somhlolo National Stadium)
‘TT’ 2nd, Felix, 62nd, ‘Sandile 70th, 87th, Njabulo 81st,
Red Lions..................... (0)1
Swallows – Nicho, ‘Tyson’ Sanele, Sifiso, Talent, Palma, Felix, Njabulo, Sandile, Wonder ‘TT’
Red Lions – Edward, Ayanda, Eliot, Enzo (Senzo), Samkeliso, Bongane, Sibusiso (Obed), Muntu, Lihle, Siphilile, Solomon